The Funny Ways Your Relationship With Your Body Changes Post-Baby

June 12, 2018  |  
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Gettyimages.com/Mother and child learning at home and eating a snack. Both with casual clothes.

I haven’t personally had a baby, but a few of my friends have now, and it’s so fascinating and uplifting to see the way they talk about their own bodies now (or simply don’t talk about them as much as they used to). It’s certainly very humbling to see another woman use her body for the incredible and noble act of not only producing another human life, but then caring for that life once it’s here. I always just think of my body in terms of attractiveness, and how it makes me feel. I’ve never had to consider how it pertained to another individual—it’s never, ever been as connected to another body as a mom’s body is to her baby’s. So, from what I’ve witnessed from my mama friends, here is how your relationship with your body changes after having a baby.

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Vanity feels frivolous

Fixating on and spending a lot of time/energy/money on tiny things like eliminating cellulite or toning arms so they don’t jiggle one bit seems completely frivolous. The human body is meant for so much more than to look perfect. Furthermore, the idea of what “perfect” means changes. If a mom’s body can create and nurture a healthy, happy baby, then her body is perfect.

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You care for it, for your baby

The reasons that moms care for their bodies change drastically. It’s no longer about anything selfish. It’s all about having a healthy body that can produce milk/hold and rock a baby to sleep/push a stroller/play with baby. There is nothing me-centric about it.

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You’re easier on it

When women are younger, and perhaps single, we tend to push our bodies. We want to see how much they’re capable of, and then take them further. That means exercising aggressively. Drinking alcohol and trying to work with a hangover. Traveling too many weeks back to back. But once a woman becomes a mother, she respects her body too much to push it to its limits.

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You never deny hunger

My mama friends don’t talk about cutting calories or resisting cravings. No way. They need their strength to chase toddlers around, and to produce quality breast milk! When they’re hungry, they don’t analyze it or question it: they eat something.

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Sleep takes priority

As far as all the things go that we can do for our bodies—exercise, get waxed, apply some mask to reduce fine lines—sleep takes priority for mothers. It’s the one thing we do for our bodies that also keeps our minds sane, and moms need their sanity.

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Feeling sexual takes time

I’ve understood from my mommy friends that they really didn’t feel up for sex for nearly (if not more) half a year after having their babies. They’re just too totally terrified/overwhelmed/thrilled/nervous/euphoric to be in their bodies enough to crave sex.

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You’re amazed by it

While a young woman might compare her body to, say, a fitness model’s and feel inferior, a mom thinks her own body is amazing. It produces milk! It changes in ways to accommodate another human. It’s a masterful and seemingly magical system.

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It’s connected to someone else

One thing that really only a mother can experience is how her body is connected—even when it’s no longer physically connected—to her baby’s. Several of my mom friend’s have said that their bodies sense it when their babies are about to cry.

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Shopping changes

Gone are the days of buying “hopeful clothes” aka clothes that can only be worn once the buyer loses weight. No way. Oh, and if it isn’t a practical, multi-tasking item like a dress that is comfortable enough for chores but cute enough for lunch out, then forget it. Moms don’t have time for outfit changes.

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You let go of abs

A lot of my mommy friends think it’s hilarious that they used to spend so much time trying to get a perfectly toned, six-pack stomach. As mothers, they’re just proud of themselves if they stay at a healthy weight.

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Forget the scale

Speaking of a healthy weight, not many moms I know are super concerned with the exact number on the scale. So long as they take care of themselves the best they know how, they’re happy with their weight. They already work so hard—nothing that scale has to say is going to get them to work harder. It isn’t possible.

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Your breasts take on a new meaning

When we’re young, we want breasts that are perky, round, bouncy, and sexy. But when a woman becomes a mom, her breasts take on a new meaning. They are a life source. They certainly aren’t perky or traditionally “perfect” but, truly, because they feed babies, they are as perfect as can be.

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You don’t push yourself if you need rest

Moms don’t push themselves if they need rest. Well, correction: they push themselves constantly for the good of their kids. But as for caring about leg day at the gym or steps clocked on a fitness tracker, they don’t push themselves if they’re absolutely beat. They need to reserve any leftover, emergency energy for the kids’ needs.

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It’s a comfort for baby

When a woman has a baby, her body becomes this source of safety and comfort for another human. Nobody can put a number on or assign any physical attributes to what that means. It’s priceless and weightless and ageless. A baby certainly doesn’t feel any more or less comforted based on his mother’s waist size.

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You feel powerful, in a new way

While being a mom makes a woman feel exhausted, drained, pushed beyond her limits, and a little bit insane, it also makes her feel more powerful in her body than ever. Growing a baby is one of the most amazing things the female body can do. And, it’s something only women can do.

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